HL Deb 26 July 1988 vol 500 c168

4A Clause 27, at end insert— ("() The regulations referred to in subsection (2A) above shall provide for a transitional scheme to take effect from the date of introduction of the community charge to ensure that any person who is eligible for inclusion in a course under this section is so included during the period before the full replacement of nursing student salaries by bursaries or grants.").

Baroness Robson of Kiddington had given notice of her intention to move, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 4 in lieu of the Lords Amendment No. 3, Amendment No. 4A.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I must say that I have absolutely no such constitutional knowledge as do others who have taken part in the debate. However, I have listened with very great care to what has been said. I thought that when I came to move my amendment to the Commons amendment, Members of this House would express their opinion on the amendment itself. I do not understand why an amendment which deals with a small number of people, some of whom are the most deserving in our society, and which addresses the matter not even on a permanent basis but as an interim measure, should provoke a constitutional debate so that the whole mind of the House is diverted from the amendment that I tried to introduce.

The amendment that I intended to introduce does not change the Government's amendments. We accept them. We just specify how the measures should apply to nurses. The House will remember that at Committee stage I moved an amendment which was defeated by only six votes—the figures were 94 to 100. That was a much stronger amendment, and we nearly won that Division. At Report stage I moved another amendment on the lines of my present proposal, which was approved by a majority of 20 Members of this House. It seems to me a tragedy that we should be in this position today where I am told that we cannot insist on this amendment. We are discussing a group of people to whom all of us owe the greatest thanks. They work hard and without them all of us at our age have a very poor future. I regret that I cannot move the amendment.

Noble Lords

My Lords, you can.

Baroness Robson of Kiddington

My Lords, I regret that I cannot move the amendment.

[Amendment numbered 4A not moved.]

On Question, Motion agreed to.

4 p.m.